JACKSONVILLE, Fla. , June 03, 1999 -- CSX Transportation Inc. (CSXT) reported that at 5:30 p.m. EST today, its Operations Center in Jacksonville, Fla., sustained a direct lightning strike that disabled key communications and signaling systems on portions of its territory. Back-up systems also were affected by the lightning strike. Rail officials reported that signal systems were restored at 8:35 p.m. EST. At 8:00 p.m. EST, 65 percent of radio communications had been restored with the balance anticipated by 9:30 p.m. EST.
The outage affected 15 passenger trains, including Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC). CSXT officials are working closely with Amtrak and the commuter agencies regarding the handling of passengers.
CSXT's signaling systems were disabled between Chicago and Philadelphia, in the Michigan area and in the West Virginia/Kentucky coal region.
Radio communications between CSXT's Operations Center and train crews also were affected; however, rail operations are continuing through the efforts of local rail officials and the use of cellular telephones and portable radio communications.
"Our No. 1 concern is to ensure the safety of our employees and the communities we serve," said Ronald J. Conway, executive vice president-operations. "Our teams are working aggressively to isolate the problem and re-establish signal and radio systems."
Conway noted that this outage did not affect CSXT's newly-acquired Conrail territory. Train operations in the newly-acquired territory are handled from Albany, N.Y., and Indianapolis, Ind.
CSXT and its 34,500 employees provide rail transportation and distribution services over a 22,700 route-mile network in 23 states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces. CSXT is a business unit of CSX Corporation (NYSE: CSX), headquartered in Richmond, Va.
CSXT's Internet address: http://www.csxt.com
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